Three Must-See Acts This Week

Boris Brejcha on Friday at Halcyon, Ceremony on Saturday at August Hall, and Molly Burch on Sunday at Cafe Du Nord.

Photo by RIck Rodney

Post-punk

Ceremony

8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 24, at August Hall. $20; augusthallsf.com

In true punk demeanor, Ceremony has never quite blended in with their contemporaries, as the genre-defying band has experimented with wide-ranging sonic influences over the course of their decade-plus career. Yet, it is this exact unpredictability and creative boldness that has made the San Francisco band one of the most consistently interesting artists to follow, and Ceremony’s upcoming album In the Spirit World Now promises more sonic evolution on the way. The group’s 2006 full-length debut, Violence Violence, is a short and brutal take on violence, like The Locust, blended with classic hardcore influences, and the band would double-down on this sound with 2008’s Still Nothing Moves You. Ceremony would tone down their abrasiveness with 2012’s Zoo, a melodic and heavy sonic departure that takes inspiration from Joy Division and Black Flag, while still retaining the group’s boisterous attitude. In the Spirit World Now hears the band dive deeper into their post-punk tendencies, recalling Bauhaus and Wire, allowing for vocalist Ross Farrar to deliver the group’s most thoughtful and sobering record to date.

Singer-songwriter

Molly Burch

7:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25, at Cafe Du Nord. $13; swedishamericanhall.com

Creating laid-back and melancholic guitar pop that you would likely hear in a smoky southern lounge, Molly Burch is a versatile singer-songwriter who explores themes surrounding heartbreak and anxiety in her music. The Los Angeles-raised musician grew up inspired by Golden Era vocal talent like Nina Simone and Judy Garland, and began to sing as a preteen. After graduating with a music degree from the University of North Carolina, Burch moved to Austin to start her own music career, releasing her quickly-recorded debut Please Be Mine in early 2017. Please Be Mine’s woozy atmosphere takes notes from ’50s pop and classic country as Burch’s mesmerizing vocal delivery is matched with twanged-out and reverberated guitars, similar to slowcore legends Low. Burch would follow up the next year with her sophomore album First Flower, a brighter and more optimistic-sounding effort that hears Burch return with even sharper vocal talent, allowing her commanding voice to take the spotlight or linger in the album’s sunny atmosphere.

Dance

Boris Brejcha

10 p.m., Friday, Aug. 23, at Halcyon. $50; halcyon-sf.com

Ever since mystifying clubbers with his 2006 debut EP Monster, Boris Brejcha has become a dance icon in his native Germany and throughout Europe with his trademark genre “high-tech minimal,” a pulsating blend of techno, hard house, and trance. The producer and DJ began in music by playing drums and piano in his youth, moving to electronic music production while in his teens. Brejcha has since boasted hits like 2008’s “Lost Memory” and 2013’s “Purple Noise,” both of which exemplify Brejcha’s talent for adding a throbbing punch into elaborate and electro-touched minimal techno. Praised by names like John Digweed and Richie Hawtin, Brejcha is known for donning an intricate jester mask during shows, inspired by his first-ever gig during Carnival in Brazil. However, Brejcha is not secretive about his public persona, and wears his mask only when he feels the energy in the room he’s performing in needs a tonal shift. Along with a string of new singles supporting the release of his forthcoming album due next year, this year marks the long-awaited North American debut tour for Brejcha, which mostly sees the jester-DJ leave the festival stage behind in favor of intimate club sets.

 

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